We’ve known for decades:
Orton Gillingham Reading Programs can teach children with dyslexia to read:
If your child has been diagnosed (officially) with dyslexia by a qualified neuropsychologist, psychologist, or psychoeducational evaluator, then you will probably need to find and use an Orton-Gillingham reading program to teach your child how to read well.
The Orton-Gillingham (O-G) methodology was devised by Samuel Orton and Anna Gillingham, and is a multisensory method used to teach children with true dyslexia to read. Orton-Gillingham itself is not an actual program, but there are many reading programs available that use the Orton-Gillingham methodology to teach children with dyslexia how to read.
In order to find an effective Orton-Gillingham reading program, you first need to know the essential components of the method. The Orton-Gillingham methodology incorporates the following criteria:
- Comprehensive – every detail of phonology is taught – every letter, every sound, every sound-letter combination, rules for spelling, rules for decoding, frequency of words using specific rules, etc.
- Explicit instruction – every detail of phonology is taught outright – there is nothing that is bypassed in the instruction.
- Direct instruction – Every detail is taught directly to the student.
- Multi-sensory – Each piece of instruction is taught multiple ways using auditory, visual, and kinesthetic (movement) based teaching.
- Mastery – Each piece of instruction is taught until the student can automatically recall the sound-letter combinations, decoding and spelling rules, syllabication, etc. without hesitation.
SO, when you are searching for a good Orton-Gillingham reading program, you will want to be sure the program is comprehensive, teaches content auditorily, visually, and kinesthetically, is detailed and explicit in directly teaching your child, and has built-in mastery checks either provided by the program or that you can use in assessing your child’s level of automatic recall.
There are some programs that have visual and/or auditory components, but NOT kinesthetic components. While these programs work to a degree, they will not work as well as programs where teaching also incorporates some kind of movement, like finger spelling, clapping, toe writing on the carpet, large writing on a big chalkboard, etc. If your child happens to be a kinesthetic learner, and many children are, then a program that does not incorporate large-body movement will not be the best program for your child.
As a key step, you will want to assess your child’s learning style to know what type of learning activities serve your child best. If your child is primarily a visual or auditory learner, virtually all Orton-Gillingham reading programs use visual and auditory components or activities.
Thus, when you are looking at programs, carefully consider the thoroughness of the Orton-Gillingham reading program in utilizing the Orton-Gillingham methods. Orton-Gillingham reading programs that are widely used among homeschooling families who are working to overcome dyslexia include (in no particular order):
- All About Reading
- Wilson Reading
- Lindamood-Bell LiPS
- Lexia Reading at Home
- Barton Reading
If you’d like an app for Orton-Gillingham reading practice, Sound Literacy is an app that uses virtual letter tiles for teaching. “Sound Literacy provides a parent with the basic building blocks (elements) that written words are made of – letter and letter combinations, prefixes, suffixes, and bases. With the added ability to create any combination used to explain how words are structured, spelled, or pronounced the possibilities are endless.”
In addition to the resources above, check out our “Home School Curriculum for Learning Disabilities” Resource page for a wider variety of options. There are numerous Orton-Gillingham reading programs available on the market. You just need to be aware of your child’s learning style and the primary type of multisensory activities within the Orton-Gillingham reading program you choose.
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